Chapter 5: Learning to Protect Your Energy and Focus

INTRO

Today is day 5 in my journey towards trying to restructure my life, but day 2 back to work since I made this declaration. Overall I feel like I’m doing well, but I’m finding that I was only semi-aware of the frustrations I have with my job. Going back into a work environment that has tons of stresses makes it increasingly difficult to stay focused on the journey ahead. It’s like the equivalent of planning a road trip and encountering storms along the way. You’re likely to arrive at your destination if you keep going, however, you might have to take some detours and significant amounts of rest along the way which only prolongs your travels. This leads to anxiety. That’s the basis of today’s entry, so let’s get into it.

“MAN, WE’RE BLESSED TO HAVE A JOB”, YES…KINDA

You read that title above correctly. Having a job is definitely a blessing. My co-workers who have equal levels of frustration with the job often utter this phrase. During this time of uncertainty, having stable income feels like a God-send. Everyday presents it stressors but I couldn’t fathom quitting, well I can and I can’t…let me explain. I couldn’t fathom quitting because I know there are tons of people who would likely love to be in the situation I’m in, strictly for the pay and flexibility. Years ago when I decided to go back to school this was some version of what I dreamed of, maybe not necessarily the type of products I work on…but definitely the industry I wanted to be in. I come from a background of service level jobs where I’m used to working hard. I’ve never been good navigating the bureaucracy of the corporate world but quite frankly, in those jobs I never really had to. I showed up with a smile on my face, engaged my co-workers, and then we got after the work. The pay wasn’t good, so those jobs eventually created a level of frustration as well. I’m sure most jobs probably do after some time. Then I worked contract for the military and that was fantastic. It was a small group of contractors and civil-service employees that worked in a small building on post. We knew what our objectives were, we leaned on each other heavily, and we got sh*t done. It was beautiful.

I then left that position because I was offered a corporate gig with a large company. The pay was going to be better than anything my contractor could offer, and the benefits seemed better as well. I also appreciated the idea that I wouldn’t be going in as the top-level guy. I would be going in as a mid-level employee, which was what I wanted because I knew there was a lot left to learn about my profession, especially within the context of a Fortune 100 company. It seemed right due to the pay and the acquisition of knowledge. I was excited at first, but once you’re in…after some time, you quickly begin to realize that design isn’t given as much respect as you’d imagine it would be, at least at certain companies. While I will say, I’ve learned a TON of professional things…I’ve also learned that in many cases the influence of design isn’t meant to flourish within certain companies. Your creative is given a death sentence in favor of project delivery and pleasing your business partners. Your ideas, no matter how ambitious, will most always be shelved in favor of what can be done the fastest. It’s a tough pill to swallow, but I got into this business because I love to be creative, and over the past several years I’ve been so drained that my creative spirit seems to have eluded me. It’s gone…but I want it back.

Once I leave this job, and I will eventually, I believe that I most likely won’t work for a major company again. This has been brutal and I can’t see myself dedicating this level of effort over the course of the next 20 years of my life doing something that feels defeating. The only things this job is good for these days are wasting my time in HOURS of pointless meetings, and having my professionalism and ideas constantly questioned and re-imagined by people who aren’t designers. They have a strong say in the creative process and that’s fine to a point, but when the requirements change week to week and they refuse to commit to testing our concepts with users it begins to feel as though one is running on a hamster wheel. It sucks…it really does.

VALUE ADD TO THE WORLD OVER A PAYCHECK

To anyone who is struggling financially and feels like I’m ungrateful, I won’t try to convince you otherwise. I do however pray that your situation improves and that you not only find gainful income, but that you find your passion and income that’s generated from that passion so that you never find yourself in the same predicament that most of us are in. That position, no matter how much they offer you, is usually one where you’re subservient to some “boss” who has the ability to control your earning potential or employment status. I don’t care who you are…that BLOWS MAN!!! If you’re currently free from work do yourself a favor and dig deep to make your passion your source of income, whatever that is. We all aspire for freedom. The deeper you become ingrained in a major company for a certain salary, the harder it becomes to distance yourself from that way of life. Also, if you consider net worth and debt some of the people in seemingly higher positions than you…making significantly more money than you….might in actuality be worse off or more broke than you. Even if they wanted to leave many of them feel shackled to that position just to maintain.

Now I don’t want to sound too sunshine and rainbows and pretend like money doesn’t factor in. It does in some capacity. If you need a job to get by until your hustle picks up, play the game. Just don’t allow yourself to become trapped in the game. I’m finally seeing the world for what it is and I realize that it’s important to spend this one life that we have doing things you love and focusing your energy on things that are most important. These things include your friends, family, health (both physical and mental), and the greater world around you that needs whatever light you possess to shine brightly. That’s why I’m blogging now and will eventually start a YouTube channel doing the things I love. There’s somebody out there going through a similar journey right now…and they’re probably looking to learn something from me, just as I am looking for them as well. We’d be selfish to withhold that from those who need it.

SO…NOW…ABOUT MY DAY…

As I’ve stated before, the primary focus of each entry will be to focus on the major insight I found from the day. I’d say overall I maintained success. I drank my green tea, ate 3 square meals and a snack, and tracked my macros.

I also did some coding, which I will most likely resume in the morning since my day is light tomorrow. I decided to begin building a basic app just for practice. I’m toying with the idea of making it an app…I’d give the details but I’m not ready to see it stolen yet LOL. It really will be a simple project though. I feel like I could set it up in a way that’s RESTFUL, I can set up some routes, allow users to view or filter things in a Reddit style fashion, and maybe we’ll even hook it up to a Mongo server. I have to begin to figure it out…because Development is REALLY where I want to be. Trial by fire, right? Cast fear aside in pursuit of greatness.

Outside of that I was displeased that I took a long nap. I think I was out from 6pm to 9:30pm. I was tired. I had tons of brutal meetings that really stressed me out and depressed me. They also have a tendency to make me second guess my abilities and have loads of self-doubt. I’m learning to forgive myself and remind myself that God has something much better for me, and this is his way encouraging me to move on and move forward.

CONCLUSION

I have to learn to focus and protect my energy on that which matters. Building forms for consumer loans isn’t my life purpose. That’s what I do now…I know, earth shattering, right? (sarcasm).I do it to the best of my abilities but I know we all have something great to offer the world. I’m in pursuit of it and I hope that if you are too. If not…well…let’s begin.

I love you all, I hope you are doing well…and most importantly…always be blessed!

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